Saturday, February 17, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 7

Skipping weeks 5 and 6 due to the Family History Writing Challenge, today I turn my attention back to the 52 Ancestors challenge. The writing prompt for this week was Valentine, appropriately. I don’t have any old Valentine’s Day cards in my possession, nor do I know off the top of my head about any births or marriages which took place on February 14th. But I do have four men in my family tree named Valentin, and one who was named Valentinus.

Valentin is the Spanish form of Valentino, from the Latin name Valentinus. The Latin name comes from an old Roman family name originating as a nickname from the adjective valens, meaning the healthy, the strong. Valentinus is the original form of Valentine. It is no surprise that the person most associated with this name is St. Valentine.

As an aside, in 2016 Valentin was ranked 65th out of the top 100 most popular names for boys in Switzerland. For purposes of this post, I am going to focus on three of the Swiss Valentin males as they are all in the same family line.

Switzerland Cantons

Valentin and Claudia
Valentin Kübler, my 3rd cousin 3 times removed, was born on 17 May 1899 in Büsserach, Canton Solothurn, Switzerland. On 26 July 1924 he married Claudia Josefina Schonbachler in Einsiedeln, Canton Schwyz, Switzerland. The distance between those two towns is 141.6 km, and Einsiedeln is where Claudia was born. The distance makes you wonder how the two met.

Valentin and Claudia resided in Büsserach, and that is where they had their six children. Two boys and three girls were born before their youngest son, Valentin Anton, arrived in 1944. He is my 4th cousin 2 times removed. Valentin died in Breitenbach, a town located near Büsserach, in 1979. Claudia died in Büsserach in 1996.

Büsserach, Switzerland 
Although Valentin Anton died in 2001, many of his family members are still living so I will be somewhat vague in their details. Valentin Anton and his wife had two boys and one girl, but did not name either of their sons Valentin. One of their sons, my 5th cousin once removed, named his youngest son Valentin, which makes young Valentin my 6th cousin.

Naming patterns in families are always interesting. Wouldn't it be great to have a name that is synonymous with the Saint of Love?


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Family History Writing Challenge Day 14

At this point I have exhausted every avenue that I can think of, and that has been suggested to me, in attempting to find out who were the parents of Thompson Hightower. I will continue to watch for DNA matches that might point me to another person researching this family, as well as check online resources as information in constantly added.

But I feel that my next step is to hire a genealogist who specializes in Kenton County/Campbell County genealogy to see if he or she knows of resources that I have missed. Thanks to the postings this month on my blog, I can point the genealogist here so that my efforts won’t be duplicated.

Elizabeth Hightower
Thus I will be ending my writings on the Family History Writing Challenge for this year, and will instead resume my 52 Ancestors posts. But I’ll leave you with this intriguing piece that I found at the Kenton County Public Library. An article dated 22 July 1870 on page 1 of the Cincinnati Daily Gazette discussed the case of the Commonwealth vs. Richard Harris in which Harris had been accused of raping Mrs. Elizabeth Hightower. Thompson Hightower died in 1866. Is this his widow, Elizabeth? There was another Hightower named Rolla living in Kenton County at the same time, and his wife was also named Elizabeth, so it could have been her as well.

It is a noteworthy case in that the acting mayor allowed the “introduction of a negro woman as testimony for the prosecution.” It is believed to be the first instance of the court in Covington allowing a negro to testify in a case that involved a white person. The testimony resulted in the accused going free. It would be interesting to see if any other articles exist on this case.

For now, I am stepping away from the Hightower brick wall I have been banging my head against.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Family History Writing Challenge Day 13

Thompson Hightower
The previous posts have illustrated the extent to which I have tried to find information about the parents of Thompson Hightower. It does not include all the online avenues that I have utilized, nor the trip I took to Richmond, Virginia back in 2014 as that trip involved looking at Hightowers and affiliated family lines from George Hightower, Jr. back. Thompson was born in Kentucky, so until I can ascertain if or how they are related to Thompson, it makes no sense to cover that information here.

As I stated on the beginning of this writing challenge, I am confident of the direct tie between myself and Thompson Hightower. It is getting beyond him that is the problem. My brother and I have taken DNA tests, and I am hopeful that someday a George Hightower, Jr. (or any Hightower, for that matter) descendant will reach out to me as a match. Until then, here is summary of what I know.

Thompson Hightower was born in Campbell County (which became Kenton County in 1840), Kentucky around 1815. He remained in the Covington area until his death from cholera in 1866.

George Hightower was born in Virginia in 1770, but moved to Kentucky with his wife Frances and children, Mary Polly and Austin, by 1800. By the 1830 census he was living in Adams County, Illinois with his wife. He sold his land in Kentucky to his son Austin in March of 1836. What is odd is that the deed indicates that both George and Austin are residents of Campbell County. That could have been an error on the recording clerk’s part. There were no other George Hightowers living in Campbell County at that time, and none that show up on the 1830 census for Campbell County.

Austin then sold the land to a non-family member in October of 1838. By the 1840 census, Austin was also living in Adams County, Illinois with his wife and children. George, Mary Polly and Austin, along with their spouses, all died in Adams County and are buried in the Denson Pioneer Cemetery in Ursa.

If George moved his family in 1830, Thompson would have only been 15 years of age. Would they have left him behind in the Covington area? Or if he went with them and is indeed the one male ages 15 thru 19 on that census record, would he have gone back to Covington on his own as an adult when all of his family remained in Adams County? That doesn’t seem likely to me.